Monday, December 30, 2013

Corporate, neoliberal edreform is racist and classist at its very core


Sunday, December 29, 2013

CA-NAME Conference Reclaiming Multicultural Education: Fighting Back, Imagining and Building Socially Just Worlds

Reclaiming Multicultural Education by Robert D. Skeels

previous post


Saturday, December 21, 2013

There are solutions to fascism, and patriarchy for that matter

There are solutions to fascism, and patriarchy for that matter.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Final Grade: first class back UCLA after 19 years—5 unit Capstone Seminar: Classics: Ancient Novel

While my initial goal was just to pass, earning that “A” really boosted my morale. Class was hard though, hundreds of pages of reading a week for 10+ weeks. Two classes next quarter and I’m done!


MIT Researchers: Higher Test Scores Do Not Translate into Higher Levels of Thinking

MIT Researchers: Higher Test Scores Do Not Translate into Higher Levels of Thinking via Professor Diane Ravitch


Monday, December 16, 2013

CA-NAME Conference Reclaiming Multicultural Education: Fighting Back, Imagining and Building Socially Just Worlds

JANUARY 11, 2014



On behalf of the California Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (CA-NAME), we invite you to our 3rd annual conference, entitled "Reclaiming Multicultural Education," that will take place Saturday, January 11, 2014 at California State University, Fullerton.

The conference is an all-day event that offers teachers, counselors, and others working directly with diverse student populations an opportunity to learn about multicultural teaching, curricular, and community strategies.   We have a line up of respected scholars in the field of multicultural education, including Dr. Antonia Darder, Dr. Kevin Kumashiro, and Dr. Thandeka Chapman.  

Workshops topics include:

• Culture, Community, and the Arts
• Multicultural Literacies
• Critical Media Literacy
• Literacy and Social Studies
• Second Language Learners & Policy Changes
• Student Identities and Institutions
• Teacher Identities and Practices
• Ethnic Studies: Surviving Neoliberal Assaults

Panel topics include:

• Decolonial Perspectives on Higher Education
• Bilingual Teachers: Raising Critical Consciousness
• Student Organizing in the CSUs
• School-Based Family Counseling

Conference registration: University Affiliates: $50.00; Teachers and Community Activists: $25.00; Students: $15.00.  Registration fees include access to conference, conference program, lunch, and gift.  Attendees can register online at:  If you have any questions, please contact

SPONSORING ORGANIZATIONS: California Teachers Association (CTA), Student California Teachers Association (SCTA), Los Amigos of Orange County, Researchers and Critical Educators (RACE), Cultural And Public History Association (CPHA). Cal State Fullerton Departments: Chicana & Chicano Studies, African American Studies, Asian American Studies.


Friday, December 13, 2013

UCLA F13 Survived


Saturday, December 07, 2013

Parents in Action for Student Services (PASS) organize to return LAUSD Breakfast in the Cafeteria!

Parents in Action for Student Services (PASS) organize to return Breakfast in the Cafeteria! by Robert D. Skeels

A parent organization, Parents in Action for Student Services (PASS), is organizing to have Breakfast in the Cafeteria, before school. They are educating parents about school privatization and connecting it to BIC. This week they showed the connection between privatizers and BIC. Next week they plan to show the video from UTLA to drive the point home to fellow parents.

The messaging for this is very simple and effective:

"Should children eat breakfast in the classroom during instruction, or before school in the cafeteria?" Even L.A residents with no connection to public schools sign these petitions. This is not a ballot initiative petition, therefore signers do not need to be U.S citizens.

There are 1,000 schools in LAUSD. If each school in can collect 100 signatures, that would be 100,000 signatures! In our school alone, we have collected 300. We have received another 200 signatures from a school in the Valley. Between staff and parents at each school site this is very doable.

Please have people in your school communities circulate widely and sign. Turn in all petitions to the PASS address at the bottom of the petition by January 31, 2014.


An investigative documentary into the Common Core State Standards Initiative

BUILDING THE MACHINE (2014) - Official Trailer [HQ]

I want to use the same disclaimer here that I did the last time I posted Common Core State Standards (CSSS) related materials from sources that I disavow any connection with. The video is produced by, and also features, individuals that are from fringe-right-wing groups. The last time I published a disclaimer like this, I was subjected to a firestorm of criticism from the right. That's fine, we will never be allies in any sense other than shared opposition to the vile corporate CCSS curriculum being foisted on students. That said, there's a distinction to be made between factual information about CSSS, and ideological opposition. That's why I am posting this film trailer, because the factual case against CCSS can be made from either end of the political spectrum.


Friday, December 06, 2013

School Matter: Thieving charter charlatan-scoundrel Juan Rangel steps down from UNO! He was a darling of the AEI

First published on Schools Matter on December 06, 2013

Via Professor Diane Ravitch: Powerful Chicago Charter Leader Resigns in Wake of Financial Scandal

My commentary: Thieving charter charlatan-scoundrel Juan Rangel was a darling of the fringe-right American Enterprise Institute (AEI). In addition to their loving his stuffing of public money into his private pockets, AEI gushed about Rangel and UNO's systematic program of right-wing indoctrination.


Alex Russo, intrepid blogger defending the 1%'s education privatization project

Alex Russo, intrepid blogger defending the 1%'s education privatization project



Ms. Klein your schadenfreude over LaMotte's death was more than a little offensive

From: "Robert D. Skeels" <*********>
Date: Thu, 5 Dec 2013 23:43:47 -0800
Subject: Ms. Klein your schadenfreude over LaMotte's death was more than a little offensive
To: Karin Klein <>
Message-Id: <>

Ms. Klein:

Your fringe-right leanings coupled with your limited knowledge of pedagogy have always tainted your awful editorials and op-eds. However, you really outdid yourself with today's painfully gleeful obituary of the Honorable Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte. In the future when someone asks me how to define schadenfreude, I'll point them to the mean spirited and duplicitous screed you penned today.

You are truly shameless.

Advocating Public Education and Social Justice

Robert D. Skeels

"Problem posing education does not and cannot serve the interests of the oppressor" — Paulo Freire

Update: Here's the conversations we're having about this on fb:

  • Vik Chaubey: No surprise. Lamotte stood for principle and integrity people like that are usually attacked. When you challenge charter schools you get attacked.
  • Robert D. Skeels: Los Angeles Times' Karin Klein uses the word "feisty" to describe LaMotte over and over. She may as well have used "uppity" to express her (and her handlers) disdain of a woman of color who stood up to Eli Broad's cabal. Every time I think the LA Times can't be more disgusting I'm sadly proven wrong.


Thursday, December 05, 2013

John Deasy prioritizes corporate handouts over student lives—let's provide LAUSD kids with nurses!

The tragic death of sixth-grade Philadelphia student Laporshia Massey illustrates the dire need to ensure that every child has access to quality health and wellness services at school. I urge you to support requiring that every school have a full-time health professional on staff — and to commit to fully funding this critical resource.

In LAUSD, John Deasy prioritizes corporate handouts over student lives—let's provide all LAUSD kids with nurses! As a community, we've grown weary of school resources being diverted to tests and test-prep, when tragedies like the one described above are entirely preventable.


Rest in Peace: LAUSD's Honorable Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte

Update: check out these amazing comments by people on facebook in response to the above tweet.


Charlatan John Deasy calls transferring LAUSD's wealth to corporations a "civil rights issue"


Parent Engagement Committee as opportunity to address LAUSD CAC concerns

From an avid reader [edited for anonymity]

Here's the link to the next Early Childhood Education and Parent Engagement Committee meeting scheduled for next Thursday, December 12, 1013. It has an unfortunate late start of 4PM due to Curriculum and Instruction Committee scheduled at 10am, and the Budget, Facilities and Audit Committee scheduled at 1PM the same day. Hopefully the Budget meeting won't go overtime and we can start at 4. As they will be speaking about Local Control Funding Formula, it is possible that public comment will not occur until around 6PM.

School board staffers recently spoke regarding difficulties with our Community Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting structure today and ongoing since PCSB has been helping us. It's been requested that this issue could be placed on the agenda as a whole, but it's full for next week. Officials facilitating the Ad Hoc committee suggest that it would carry weight if members of the CAC and other interested members of the public could come to the meeting and speak to the committee regarding this. The public could ask to have the committee consider this for a future agenda item. If anyone is able to attend, it would be beneficial to the CAC.

Link to committee info and agenda.


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

What Does the PISA Report Tell Us About U.S. Education? (corporate edreform is a bust)

When the OECD releases the PISA report every three years, many people use the ranking to claim public education in the U.S. is failing and push their corporate education reform agenda. But looking at the data, lessons that can be learned from the highest performing countries point in a completely different direction. For more information: #ReclaimIt


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cheryl Ortega for UTLA Director of Bilingual Education

Cheryl Ortega for UTLA Director of Bilingual Education by Robert D. Skeels

Cheryl Ortega for UTLA Director of Bilingual Education


"I am an enthusiastic supporter of Ms. Ortega not only for her deep understand and support of bilingual education but also for her ability to see the big picture, to consider what is right for all students. In Gandhi's terms, Ms. Ortega one of the "perfect resisters" we need to win the battle of right versus wrong." — Professor Stephen Krashen

"Cheryl fights, heart and soul, for Bilingual Education and has a sense of justice that UTLA needs." — Lisa Karahalios Board of Directors Valley East,  Milliken Middle School

"I wholeheartedly endorse Cheryl. Her dedication and tenacity are a great service to our teachers and students. She was there at the beginning of LAUSD's implementation of bilingual education. No one has the same experience or institutional memory that she has." — Marina Salas, Chair UTLA Bilingual Ed Cmte, Hoover St. ES

"We need to keep our most experienced, dedicated individual at the helm of UTLA Bilingual Education." — Robert D. Skeels


Matthew Kogan, Jeff Pott & Anne Zerrien-Lee: The best team to serve you as UTLA North Area Chair and Directors!

Matthew Kogan, Jeff Pott & Anne Zerrien-Lee The best team to serve you as UTLA North Area Chair and Directo... by Robert D. Skeels

We are three independent voices for constructive change who share a common vision of inclusiveness and union solidarity. We are not beholden to any faction; we know that the only way to make our union strong is to respect our diverse membership and work together with everyone for the common good.

We ask to serve you because we want to work to strengthen our union’s collective ability to champion members’ rights and stand up for public education. It’s time to turn away from destructive internal factionalism and focus on what really matters. We can’t do this alone. We need your help. If you entrust us with your vote, we pledge to work with all of our union brothers and sisters to:

  • Build union solidarity and recruit chapter chairs for all North Area schools.
  • Defend and empower all members and all schools, raise pay and boost morale.
  • Protect your contract rights and benefits from all threats.
  • Fully staff schools, reduce class size and secure full funding for Arts, Health and Human Services, Libraries, Adult Education, SRLDP, Bilingual Education, Field Trips, and more.
  • Make sure teachers get the subs they request, and subs get called when requested.
  • Eliminate excessive high-stakes standardized testing and test prep.
  • Return Breakfast to cafeterias and halt the theft of instructional time.
  • Make schools safer and healthier for us and for students.
  • Hold elected officials accountable for votes that harm our members.
  • Strengthen organizing ties with families, school communities, and other unions.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Charlatan Steve Perry exposed for the world to see!

Ebony Murphy-Root's courageous exposure of one of the most pernicious corporate neoliberal education reformers is a must read: 'Did You Grow Up Around Black People?' My year working for "America's Most Trusted Educator"

The comments under this reprint of the piece are worth visiting as well: A powerful and haunting report from a former Capital Prep teacher


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thank you for Klansplaining me Brian!

My response to a bigot on The Daily Bruin

Protofacism in the U.S. Thank you for Klansplaining me Brian!

Your fact-free diatribes about documents, citizens, governments, and such almost made me forget the long history of genocide, trail of tears, stolen lands, and broken treaties (Guadalupe Hidalgo for one) that comprise the so-called nation of laws you mention. "Free to return to their native land"? I know you probably didn't learn this in your white supremacist studies classes, but the indigenous peoples of this continent ARE ALREADY on their native land. The depraved depths of racism and ahistoricism one must plumb to insinuate that "we [sic] are being colonized" is breathtaking. Save that Klanspeak for your next JBS meeting, this isn't the forum for your brand of bigotry and hate speech.


Monday, November 25, 2013

What's left for me to do at UCLA?

It's been a long road for this 48 year old undergraduate. My last complete year of high school was the tenth grade. I passed the GED test while stationed at Pearl Harbor in the Navy. I started at Glendale Community College in 1988 and transfered to UCLA in Spring 1991. I was forced to drop out of UCLA by my capricious employer at the end of the Winter 1995 term before I was able to graduate. Recently, after finishing second in the 2013 LAUSD School Board elections, my wife strongly encouraged me to return to UCLA. Readmission to the UC was painless, and under the new requirements I only had 12 units left to graduate.

I'm currently finishing this, which was the only required class...

and then all that's left is...

I had classes with Professor Morris when I was last at UCLA some nineteen years ago. She's one of the smartest people I've ever known, and it will be nice to study under her again.

I'll be walking in June of 2014—the first time graduating from anything ever for me. Then hard choices. UCLA GSE&IS? Peoples College of Law? A MSW program somewhere? The first two choices are pretty attractive given my social connections and the people who would recommend me. However, I'm not sure at this point. First things first.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Getting some Twitter love from LA's BEST

LA's Best helps public schools. While they're unable to offset the hundreds of millions the privately managed charter industry gets from right wing billionaires like Reed Hastings, David Welch, Rupert Murdoch, and Eli Broad, it still helps.

I'm a million times more comfortable getting favorited by LA's BEST, than that #ff I got the other day from you-know-who. At the end of the day, they're still both Nonprofit Industrial Complex #NPICs. We need an entirely new model that is a) resistant to control by plutocrats and their foundations; b) responsive to the community instead of a corporate 501C3 structure. Heck, we just need a new socioeconomic system... period.

Robert D. Skeels,
Your Tweet got favorited!
 Robert D. Skeels
Robert D. Skeels
Recolonizing Our Classrooms: The Race and Class Hypocrisy of Corporate Education Reform #CCSS #edreform…
11:37 AM - 19 Nov 13
Favorited by

LA's BEST is an after school education, enrichment and recreation program serving more than 28,000 children in L.A. #LAsBEST

Robert D. Skeels,
Your Tweet got favorited!
Robert D. Skeels
Robert D. Skeels
.@ProfessorJVH hits another one out of the park: "Reframing the Refrain: Choice as a Civil Rights Issue" #LAUSD
08:32 AM - 21 Nov 13
Favorited by

LA's BEST is an after school education, enrichment and recreation program serving more than 28,000 children in L.A. #LAsBEST


A friendly note on organizing and UTLA

A friendly note on organizing and UTLA

I keep hearing a lot of UTLA people complaining that they can't organize because of leadership. I sure want to know how those people explain how amazing UTLA activists like Anne Zerrien-Lee, Ingrid Villeda, Cheryl Ortega, Kelly Flores, Sean Abajian, José Lara, Mike Gonzales, Matthew Kogan, and others who organize successful actions and campaigns on a constant basis.

Maybe because instead of saying that they "can't organize because of leadership," or the just as cynical "organize in spite of leadership," they do it because they are the leadership. When our left political theory becomes nothing more than mere talk shop, I applaud those that put social justice into praxis. Like the trite expression goes: "be the change you are looking for."

first published here


Re-elect Tom Torlakson: a teacher working for schools and kids


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Official Petition to Remove Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education


Parents and educators protest Deasy's $1-billion iPad corporate handout plan


Recolonizing Our Classrooms: The Race and Class Hypocrisy of Corporate Education Reform

Unequal by Design: Schooling the Poor and Students of Color 
in Today's Public Schools and Universities

November 20, 2013

3 – 5pm: Faculty & Grad Student Panel
Academic Senate Chambers

Panel of Faculty, Students, and Activists Speak on
"The Privatization of Public Higher Education"

6pm - 8pm: Campus–Wide Forum & Keynote
Titan Student Union

Student Performances

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Wayne Au, Assistant Professor at 
University of Washington, Bothell 

"Recolonizing Our Classrooms: 
The Race and Class Hypocrisy of Corporate Education Reform"

Wayne Au is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington, Bothell and an editor for the social justice education magazine, Rethinking Schools. A former public high school history and language arts teacher, Au's work focuses broadly on teaching for social justice, multicultural education, and critical education theory. Most recently his work has focused on the race and class implications of high-stakes testing and other aspects of corporate education reform.

Co-Organized by: Researchers and Critical Educators (RACE) and the Los Angeles Regional Network (LA-RN) 
of the California Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (CA-NAME)

Sponsoring Organizations: 
Chicana & Chicano Resource Center (CRC), College of Education (COE), Reading Department, Department of Secondary Education, Department of Special Education, Elementary & Bilingual Education Department, Educational Leadership Department

More information:


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Crunch time going into UCLA Week 8 of F13


Rally at Galatzan Event Against LAUSD iPad Giveaway

Like Marie Antoinette, LAUSD's Tamar Galatzan is ignoring community needs with her flippant suggestion: the district should spend school bond money for thousands of iPads for every student and teacher. To the parents who want: Smaller Class Sizes, Arts Education, Physical Education, Early Education, Adult Education, Nurses, and Librarians Board Member Galatzan says Let Them Eat iPad!


Friday, November 15, 2013

TN Student Speaks Out About Common Core, Teacher Evaluations, and Educational Data


If you suspect that CCSS perpetuates what bell hooks terms 'white supremacist capitalist patriarchy,' you're right!


Wasn't it Marshall Tuck, Ryan Smith, and Antonio Villaraigosa who callously shuttered Chicano Studies at Santee HS?


This is kinda weird, I don't even know how to respond to it


Thursday, November 14, 2013

So no excuses charters basically tell youth of color acting like white ppl is the only way to be successful


Marshall Tuck: despised by community, but always welcome at the Chamber of Commerce

Show right-wing business-banker Marshall Tuck and his billionaire backers that Californians want a professional educator, not a venture capitalist, as our State Superintendent of Instruction — support Tom Torlakson!

Together, we've done a lot for our schools and our kids over the past three years.
Thanks to your support, we've stopped the harmful cuts to our schools. We've focused on higher standards and 21st century skills. We are returning music, drama, art, civics, and STEM to our classrooms. We're restoring preschool and quality early learning programs. We are working to give all students access to technology and a taste of the working world before they graduate.
As a teacher, I am proud of what we have accomplished together for California’s students:

  • Graduation rates at an all-time high
  • Statewide test scores near their peak
  • New, higher standards in place to keep students engaged and in school today -- and prepared to start a career and college tomorrow.
Of course, there’s much more to do. But our hard work for children is paying off with better school accountability and fewer dropouts.
As optimistic as I am about the future, I also need to share with you some news about a challenge to my re-election effort. Strange as it may seem, a well-funded former Wall Street banker is running against me.
My opponent will spend millions of dollars trying to defeat me -- money they know I cannot match as a career educator. I have always relied on the power of people at election time. And in California, we have proven again and again that real people beat big money. Can you donate $19 or more today to help?
There is a new spirit of hope and optimism at California’s schools, but the threat I’m facing is real. Without your help now, all that we’ve worked so hard to achieve could fall by the wayside.
While the election is months away, your early support is critical. Can I count on you to donate $19 or more today to show my opponent -- and his wealthy backers -- that California's schools are not for sale?.
We've accomplished much together. But there's more work to do, which is why I need you to act now.
Thank you for your consideration, and for you dedication to the students of California.

Tom Torlakson


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gates' VAM/AGT killed at Microsoft, but LAUSD students and educators still victimized by 'value added' phrenology


President Obama ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Common Core’s nonsensical, corporate questions confuse even Shinonome Nano!


Friday, November 01, 2013

Our oppressors use the racist phrase "achievement gap" to distract us from their abject "humanity gap."


Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: They're packing 50 students into L.A. high school classes

Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog: They're packing 50 students into L.A. high school ...: Arne Duncan green-lighted it. Remember? "Class size has been a sacred cow and I think we need to take it on," Duncan told his...


Friday, October 25, 2013

Dumping Deasy!